Enter any store or turn on a television during the holiday season and you’ll feel the urge to consume and buy everything in sight. It’s easy to forget that this is supposed to be the most wonderful time of the year, and a true sense of wonder comes from the great feeling you receive from giving selflessly to others in need or a great cause. 


Thankfully, Pasadena has plenty of great charities that could always use a boost. Take the Pasadena Humane Society & SPCA, which cares for more than 10,000 animals annually. They also provide pet adoption services, as well as animal training and humane education, plus animal control and licensing for Arcadia and La Canada Flintridge.


Close your eyes and imagine seeing the kids in your life light up at the sight of a puppy or cat on Christmas morning or amid Hanukkah. You can share that same joy with seniors too, as they are the people who often have the greatest need for unconditional love and companionship. But even if you don’t welcome an animal into your life, make a donation to help them keep up the good work. 


Of course, there are plenty of people in need of homes too. While Union Station on Raymond Avenue has long been a great source of housing and services to homeless individuals for decades, the Door of Hope is an oft-overlooked charity that provides transitional housing for homeless families making a real effort to get off the streets. The team here helps families have safe apartments for several months while they are helped placing kids in schools. People also receive counseling and training in the following areas: anger management, parenting and finance, job skills training, spiritual care, individual and marital counseling and one on one case management. Any contribution will help this fine organization, which conducts all its good deeds on a budget of just $645,000 per year. 


Even more perfect for the Christmas season — considering that Mary, the mother of Jesus, was a homeless and pregnant woman — is Elizabeth House, which provides safe housing, case management, counseling, educational classes, prenatal care and resources throughout the pregnancy and beyond for homeless pregnant women. Give to them today and you’ll have an impact on a newborn’s life that can make all the difference across their lifetime. 


Meanwhile, Five Acres helps kids who are victims of abuse through a range of community-based and residential programs, including mental health services, foster care, adoptions and domestic violence prevention. While monetary donations are always welcome, Five Acres also welcomes people to volunteer with their programs. A visit to their website (fiveacres.org) also features lists of specific toys that kids at the center request. 


Finally, we suggest giving some love and attention to the AIDS Service Center, which has helped alleviate the AIDS epidemic in the San Gabriel Valley since its founding in 1987, during the early years of the crisis. With advances in treatment making AIDS seem for many like a chronic yet survivable condition rather than a deadly virus, it can be easy to forget that great needs remain. Your donation will help the center continue its work providing benefits assessments, counseling, education and assistance with home health care including transportation and mental health service. 

The Pasadena Humane Society & SPCA is located at 361 S. Raymond Ave., Pasadena.Call (626) 792-7151 or visit phsspca.org.


Door of Hope is located at 669 N. Los Robles Ave., Pasadena. Call (626) 304-9130 or visit doorofhope.us. 


To reach Elizabeth House, call (626) 577-4434 or visit elizabethhouse.net.


Five Acres is located at 760 W. Mountain View St., Altadena. Call (626) 798-6793 or visit fiveacres.org.


The AIDS Service Center is located at 65 N. Raymond Ave., Pasadena. Call (626) 441-8495 or visit aidsservicecenter.org.